BID opponents unconvinced by new plan

If the opinions of representatives from two groups of opponents of a Business Improvement District are any indication, the revised proposal revealed by the interim board late last week has failed to win them over.

“The BID is a duplication of what the city can and should do with taxes it already collects from downtown residential property owners,” downtown resident Inge Durre writes to Xpress “With the installation of a BID, residential property will become less attractive and therefore lose in value.”

Durre is one of the representatives of an ad-hoc group of downtown residential property owners opposed to the BID, who have claimed that it will help business owners far more than residents and that public opinion has not been adequately taken into account. The group has also reported that surveys they have conducted show a large majority of downtown residents oppose the BID. While the revised proposal does offer changes in some areas that concerned them, Durre notes, “The majority of our comments are still valid grounds for my continued opposition.” She’s encouraging Asheville City Council to vote against the BID or delay it until a more comprehensive survey can be conducted.

StopAvlBID, a group of local activists opposed to the measure, were similarly critical. Their response to the new BID plan was titled “revised plan plagued by same problems and omission.”

“The revised Business Improvement District plan remains a solution for the management of public space that is out of step with democratic values,” the announcement by spokesperson Martin Ramsey reads. “Although the boundaries of the BID, the composition of the board, and the ‘Ambassador’ program have been changed or delayed there is no substantive alteration of the plan. The board remains an unelected board subsidized by tax payer funds, and the fact that Business Improvement Districts around the country and state are likewise undemocratic is no defense of Asheville’s proposed BID.”

Asheville City Council’s meeting begins at 5 p.m., Oct. 9, on the second floor of City Hall.

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